Georgia Child Support Guidelines: Changes in 2024 2026

Georgia Child Support Guidelines: Changes in 2024 2026

New Child Support Laws: Georgia 2024

Explore new Child Support Laws in Georgia including new calculation tables, deviations for low-income and percentage of parenting time, how to change support payment amounts, enforcement actions, and penalties for non-compliance.

Times change, and so do guidelines, regulations, and laws. In 2024 and 2026, Georgia will implement sweeping changes to virtually all aspects of child support. The new guidelines will reset how to factor income levels, cost-of-living expenses, and how more or less custody time impacts costs to each parent. A siginificant element of the new laws is expanding and increasing the basic child support presumptive amounts.

How is Child Support Calculated?

In Georgia, child support guidelines require payment amounts to be calculated based on the combined incomes of both parents. Presently, the amount of the combined monthly income is used to find the (presumptive) monthly payment amount per a table of monthly support amounts. The full amount is then factored by the percentage of the total income of the person paying child support.

For example, the divorcing couple has a combined monthly income of $6,000, and two minor children. Per the table the full amount is $1,384. If the person who will pay child support makes 75% of the income, the actual support payment will be 75% of the full amount. In short, $1,384 (presumptive amount) x .75 (75% responsibility) = $1,038 (actual monthly payment).

Want to see what your situation may look like? You can visit the Judicial Council of Georgia website to use a Free Georgia Child Support Calculator. 1

Support Amount Deviations

Certain circumstances may result in a judge altering the support amount produced per the table. A judge may deviate from this formula based on: one of the parents is eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, special needs of minor children, etc.

SB 454: Changes to Georgia Child Support Laws

Georgia child support laws are periodically updated to improve the fairness and equity of child support obligations.

Significant changes to child support law will now go into effect in May of 2024 and July of 2026. On May 6, 2024, Georgia passed child support legislation which will implement sweeping changes to the current Georgia’s child support statute.

The stated purpose of the new legislation, per the official State document is, "To amend Chapter 6 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to alimony and child support, so as to provide for guidelines for child support award calculations; to provide definitions; to provide for related matters; to provide for effective dates; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes." 2

Summary of New Changes

In July of 2024, the new legislation will implement changes relative to levels of income, cost-of-living, and shared custody time. The single, most notable impact is that the basic child support presumptive amounts were increased for almost all income levels.

In July of 2026, child support laws institute a mandatory parenting time adjustment (vs the current discretionary deviation). Prior to this change, the non-custodial parent had to petition the court to request a low-income deviation. The legislation also provides for a a graduated mandatory low income adjustment.

Also in July of 2026, the court-ordered amount of parenting time for each parent is applied to the child support worksheet. This will be a factor that then adjusts the basic actual child support amount.

There are other changes that can affect the outcome of your divorce. You should contact a divorce lawyer to learn more about how the new law may affect your case.

Child Support Modification

Changing Support Payment Amounts is fairly common when there are substantial changes in income of either parent. To change the terms of your divorce settlement agreement, particularly child support, you need to file a petition for modification.

There are limitations on filing for a modification. A request for a support modification may be made only once every two years. For example, if your divorce was made final in June of 2024, you cannot file for a modification until at least July of 2026.

Justifying a Request for Modification

Monthly child support payment amounts can be changed if the custodial parent can prove the the non-custodial parent’s income has substantially improved (i.e., wages increased, receives an inheritance, etc.). The non-custodial parent may be able to get payment amounts decreased if they can prove a circumstance of extended financial hardship (i.e., loss of job, unable to work, etc.).

Child Support Enforcement

Are you experiencing a problem with being paid child support on time? There are a few ways to address the circumstances.

  • Try having civil conversation. Ideally, the parents can have a civil discussion about the situation and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. This is easier to do if this is a random or short-term issue with no intent to do harm. In any event, any problems with child support payments should be addressed promptly. Ignoring the situation will almost always result in legal litigation with consequences for both parties. If the non-paying parent has to pay legal fees that may make it more difficult for them to pay child support. If they are sent to jail they will not be able to work and pay child support.
  • I need help but can’t afford a lawyer. Contact the Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services. This is the State agency that handles child support issues. They offer support enforcement services at little or no cost to custodial parents. Per their website, "All Georgia families have access to these services, which include assistance with locating non-custodial parents, confirming paternity, establishing and enforcing child support including collecting and issuing payments."3
  • I need help and can afford a lawyer. In this case, you can benefit from the dedicated service of your child support enforcement attorney. Hiring your original divorce attorney offers the advantage of having a lawyer who is familiar with your situation. Are not satisfied with the performance of your original divorce lawyer? You do not need to re-hire your original divorce attorney to handle your petition for modification. You are allowed to hire a different law firm. Either way, your chosen attorney can prep and file the petition, and represent you in the family law court.

Defense for Contempt Charges

Occasionally being late on a child support payment should never cause a legal problem. There will probably be legal problems for anyone who is habitually delinquent or outright refuses to make court-ordered payments.

Failure to pay court ordered child support is can result in penalties including fines and jail time. For many people, jail time results in losing their job which makes everything much worse. You may be required to pay the legal fees incurred by your ex. Additionally, any support amount in arrears will still have to be paid.

If you’re behind on child support you should contact a lawyer to defend you from contempt charges.

How Much Back Child Support is a Felony in Georgia?

Misdemeanor Charges If the non-custodial parent is behind 30 days or longer they can be charged with contempt or abandonment. This could result in jail time up to one year, up to a $1,000 fine, and be ordered to pay all overdue support payments.

Felony Charges If the non-custodial parent moves out of state to avoid paying child support, or they are guilty of a third offense for failure to pay support, they can be charged with a felony. Penalties for this felony abandonment can include up to a $1,000 fine, prison sentence up to three years, and be ordered to pay all unpaid support.

Federal Charges – the Deadbeat Parent Punishment Act

In 1992, (then) President Bill Clinton signed into law the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) 4. This Act made it a federal misdemeanor crime to willfully fail to pay child support to a minor child that lives in another State.

Fast forward to 1998, the Act was amended with the The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DDPA) 5. The Deadbeat Parent Punishment Act makes it a federal felony crime for a parent to move to another state to avoid paying child support. If the non-custodial parent owes over $10,000, or is delinquent by more than two years, they face the potential of up to two years in federal prison, probation after release, fines, and be ordered to pay all overdue payments. These federal charges can be applied in addition to State charges for non-payment of child support.


To learn more about child support laws in Georgia you should arrange for a consultation with a family law attorney. Get answers to your questions and learn how a lawyer can help you. Call us at 770-956-1400.

CREDITS and FOOTNOTES

Jimmy Duncan
James Hobson is a digital marketing professional with 25 years of experience in web development, search engine optimization, local search and online advertising. James has over 40 years of sales and marketing experience ranging from entrepreneur to senior management for start-ups, SMB, and Fortune 100 companies. James has specific business expertise with advertising agency, law firm, service trade, manufacturing, construction and industrial sectors. He has been a sales and marketing speaker for events, and is a frequent contributing author for law and business blogs under the nom de plume Jimmy Duncan.

Leave a Comment